Staffordshire councils encourage taxis to make transition to EVs

Three Staffordshire councils have come together to install electric vehicle charging facilities within local authority car parks to support local taxis and private hire vehicles to make the transition to EVs.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council, Stafford Borough Council and Stoke-on-Trent City Council successfully partnered to secure funding of more than £750,000 from the Government’s Low Emission Taxi Infrastructure Scheme, which will result in thirty rapid chargers being installed across 15 car parks owned by the three authorities.

The first sites, which include the car parks at King Street (Kidsgrove), Chancery Lane, and South Wolfe Street in Stoke-on-Trent, went live in April – with the remaining sites coming into operation over the course of the next few months.

This new network of EV charge points will be operated by SWARCO Smart Charging, who will be supplying, installing, and maintaining the infrastructure.

The charge points are 50kW rapid chargers with contactless payment and, while some of them will be open for public use, at least half will be reserved for taxis and private hire vehicles who will also benefit from reduced tariffs, with the standard public rate of £0.49 p/kwh and £0.45 p/kwh for taxis.

The network and usage data will be constantly monitored and reviewed so that changes can be made in line with the growing demand from the electric taxi and private hire trade.

By increasing the availability of EV charge points, which will encourage more taxi and private hire drivers to switch to EVs, the installation of an EV charging infrastructure in council-owned car parks will also support the Government’s initiatives to secure cleaner air, encourage the uptake of low and zero emissions vehicles and reduce transport related CO2.

Newcastle-under-Lyme Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Recycling, Trevor Johnson, said: “We’re really pleased to be one of the first councils in Staffordshire to install shared electric vehicle charging points.

“We recognise the increasing requirement for easy-to-access facilities for electric vehicles and, as a Council, we want to do everything we can to help reduce emissions, improve air quality, make the move away from fossil fuels and work towards a net zero carbon rating.

“Residents may have seen the charging points in place already in Goose Street car park and King Street, in Kidsgrove. These are shared facilities for our residents and taxis. It is great that taxis registered in the borough are also playing their part, helping us to lead the way to healthier and more environmentally friendly travel.”

Councillor Carl Edwards, Cabinet Member for Environment and Housing at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said: “Everyone is aware of the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, including the reduction of local air pollution particularly in congested areas; the cheaper maintenance costs and the Government incentives to buy.

“Unfortunately, we have previously not had the infrastructure available to encourage our taxi drivers to move over to electric. With the new facilities across the city, we are hoping that our licensed taxi drivers will be able to reap the benefits of driving cleaner vehicles, while being confident they can recharge whenever they’re out and about.”

Justin Meyer, Managing Director of SWARCO Smart Charging, said: “This is a well thought out plan to provide a network of charge points that connects different locations to support drivers on their regular routes and fares. We are encouraged by the response of local taxi and private hire operators that can see the impact a dedicated accessible charging infrastructure will have on supporting their future plans.”

The charging points will be installed in council car parks in central locations with space to accommodate charge points and the energy supply, and that offer 24-hour access for drivers.

Image: Swarco

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